Human sexuality

 
 

Please note:

Positional statements are guidelines for membership of The Salvation Army. They are based on scripture and from this we have expectations of how our Officers (ministers of religion) and church members lead their lives.

We do not expect the same level of adherence from non-members and do not condemn those who do not hold the same beliefs or exclude them from attending our church services, working for us or receiving our support.

We oppose any discrimination, marginalisation or persecution of any person. We find no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for any reason.

Anyone who comes to The Salvation Army will receive assistance based solely on their need and our capacity to provide help.  We work with people who are vulnerable and marginalised across the world, and offer very practical help, unconditional assistance and support regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

We employ a large number of people of other faiths, cultures and varying sexual orientation and we respect and value the rich diversity of our staff and the communities in which we serve.

Human Sexuality

Human sexuality is part of God's creation and as such it is good [1] and to be celebrated [2].  Like the rest of creation and human life, the use of our sexuality can fall short of God's intentions and be misused [3]. Human sexuality includes a mix of identity, feelings and behaviours that are not always fully understood by the individual concerned or by society as a whole. Sexual identity is widely accepted to be unchosen by the individual. The Salvation Army believes that it is wrong to discriminate against anyone in the provision of goods and services, and social and pastoral care because of their presumed or declared identity [4].

The Salvation Army endorses biblical teaching which sees humans as responsible for their behaviours including behaviour resulting from sexual feelings however powerful [5]. Sexual behaviour is wrong when it lacks consent from either partner, or is undertaken with people unable to give fully informed consent (children and vulnerable adults), or when it involves violence or coercion.

The Salvation Army teaches that sexual acts should take place only in a monogamous heterosexual marriage, believing that this reflects God's intentions for sexual behaviour and provides the best environment for raising children.  Marriage is a covenant between God and wife and husband, ideally providing resources of grace, forgiveness and love to sustain a lifelong faithful relationship [6]. Loving relationships that can support human flourishing will involve commitment, communication, consent, forbearance, forgiveness, respect and faithfulness.  For those who do not share Christian beliefs we advocate a state-recognised marriage characterised by mutual loving commitment and shared responsibility within a relationship [7].

We condemn all exploitation of sexual behaviour and feelings. This includes all types of sexual abuse, pornography and prostitution. We endorse the work of those who support people whose lives have been damaged by the abuse of human sexuality. The Salvation Army takes seriously policies to safeguard children and vulnerable adults [8].

 [1] Genesis 1:27-31

 [2] Song of Solomon 8:6-7

 [3] Genesis 3:16

 [4] International Mission Statement of The Salvation Army: ‘The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based upon the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination.'

 [5] 2 Samuel 12:1-24

 [6] Matthew 19:1-9

 [7] 1 John 4:16-21

 [8] The Salvation Army's child protection and best practice policy and procedures are contained in the Safe & Sound manual. Every adult working with children must agree to endorse and adopt the relationship parameters and best working practices contained within the policies.